Advanced Aerodynamics & Structures (AASI) says certification work on the Jetcruzer 500 turboprop pusher will not be completed until the "second half of next year", meaning a delay of more than 12 months over the company's original predictions.

AASI says the delay is part of a conscious effort to certificate the Jetcruzer complete with several systems, such as anti-icing and autopilot, that would otherwise have required supplementary certification work with the US Federal Aviation Administration. "We were going to get a TC [type certificate] with limitations. So we decided instead to go for the whole ball of wax," says AASI which adds that "-the customers are happy about that".

The company holds an order backlog of 150 Jetcruzers, but says that further orders were being negotiated at the show.

The possibilities of an extended flight test effort are also thought to be contributing to the delay. The company is working on aerodynamic refinements to the wing and canard as part of efforts to drive down stall speed, at least "four to five knots" above the 61kt (110km/h) at which it is being aimed for FAA Part 23 single engine certification. AASI admits the it "-will be above 61kt because of the higher gross weight".

AASI chief test pilot, Mark Elwess adds that "-accelerated stall speed and stall warning requirements are pretty strenuous for single engined, canard equipped aircraft like this". The wing and canard have vortex generators and both feature a 3-5¼ leading edge droop that replaced moveable flaps on the original design.

In other areas, the aircraft, which has no flaps, spoilers or speed brakes, handles as planned, says Elwess, who adds that the Jetcruzer "-is something for which the aviation community has been waiting for a long time. It is capable of going from its full speed of 350kt to gear down speed in a few seconds". The dramatic "disc braking" effect of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66 powered, five-bladed 2.2m-diameter Hartzell propeller is responsible for a 4,000ft/min (20m/s) descent rate.

Source: Flight International